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  • Blog Entries | Lee James Broadwood

    BLOG ENTRIES This page provides a hub of information about me, my services, my work, and my life. It is with great pleasure that I invite you to share in the life I lead. Guidance and Support for Theatremakers and Live Artists in London! Why I Offered a Free Photoshoot to FRIEND Farm Animal Sanctuary Director for Georges Feydeau Farce! Production Assistant for Horror Feature! The Best Study Spaces in London! Moonlighting as a Theatre and Performance Critic Professional Photographs of Your Animals to Keep Forever Available Now! The One YouTube Channel You Should Subscribe To! Are You as Proud of This Instagram Account as I Am?! A Mini Q&A with Your Favourite Artist! Welcome to My Blog! SEE ALL WRITTEN CONTENT

  • Performance Analyses | Lee James Broadwood

    The Performance Critic combining critical theory and performance analysis to provide technical reviews for London’s live artists Performance Analyses Below, you will find all of the public analyses that I have published to date for free as part of my service as a live performance mentor . To return to The Performance Critic's home page at any time, please click here. Alternatively, you can click the 'Return' button at the bottom of this page. [Performance Analysis:] STILL LIFE WITH ONIONS, Barons Court Theatre, London. [Performance Analysis:] FRANK’S CLOSET, Union Theatre, London. [Performance Analysis:] MARRY ME A LITTLE, Stage Door Theatre, London. [Performance Analysis:] A CARAVAN NAMED DESIRE, Camden People's Theatre, London. [Performance Analysis:] SKIN, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, London. [Performance Analysis:] UNDER INFLUENCE, CryerArts Centre, London. [Performance Analysis:] WONDER DRUG: A COMEDY ABOUT CYSTIC FIBROSIS, Omnibus Theatre, London. [Performance Analysis:] SUPERNOVA, Omnibus Theatre, London. [Performance Analysis:] SWEENEY TODD: THE VICTORIAN MELODRAMA, Wilton's Music Hall, London. [Performance Analysis:] POTTED PANTO, Apollo Theatre, London. [Performance Analysis:] HEARTBREAK HOTEL, Etcetera Theatre, London. Star Ratings: The Performance Critic 1 2 3 4 5 RETURN TO THE PERFORMANCE CRITIC

  • Home | Lee James Broadwood

    LEE JAMES BROADWOOD Interdisciplinary Artist: Live Performance and Creative Media About Me Audiovisual Content Live Performances Written Content My Website Highlights Poetry Anthology my most recent publication, now available for purchase! More Info Order Today

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Publications (247)

  • [Performance Analysis:] THE NINE-DAY QUEEN, Baron’s Court Theatre, London.

    Overall, all actors perform with great credibility and conviction. As the play progresses, a distinct library of idiosyncratic peculiarities emerges, which is chiefly true of the most consistent of the cast members, Samantha Ellison (playing Lady Jane Grey), enabling a good sense of character. A few stumbles over lines, but their meaning and character intention remain most legible and accurately delivered. I would say, however, that there is a certain roboticism in the manner in which the cast navigate duologues, most noticeably between Maddie White (playing Rita) and Moya Matthews (playing Lena), where there is a delay in reactivity until after the interlocutor has finished their line. I would recommend work on constant presence and reactivity to ensure that performed responses feel live and grounded. Indeed, there is a sense of stasis as the performers also, similarly, tend to stay completely still until delivering their own lines. This roboticism is also prevalent in the text itself, however, making artificiality in physical performance more difficult to avoid. The relentless inclusion of superficial banter, in particular, allows for a lack of depth amongst the characters — the very first, more conversational and jokey scene between Rita and Lena, for instance, in comparison to the scene wherein Lena queries Rita’s sexuality. I find the latter to be most demonstrative, giving us a profounder take on Rita’s character in the confirmation of an allusive character emelent and a glimpse into an intimate and gentle moment of character bonding. This is not to say that only serious scenes make for great plot and character development; instead, I communicate that banterous scenes in performances like this should be refined and revelatory just as any other. Language use does become a significant issue, most noticeable in scenes wherein technical language is incorporated. This is in reference to Rita occasionally divulging her intellectual discoveries from the books she has read or the facts she has retained, which are incongruous with this aforementioned gossipy/informal register in which the rest of the text is written; there is a disconnect here when we consider that that this is not how Rita’s speech is usually presented. Yet another voice is introduced when Rita delivers her political opinions, it is worth nothing. In this inconsistency and multifacetedness of the language used, we completely lose all sense of identity and individualism and are presented, instead, with a sterile spokesperson, a mouthpiece, robotic and lacking uniqueness. As expressed above, there are multiple, clashing voices at work within this text, each with their own motive and affect. This leads to inconsistencies of not only voice but of style and narrative too. And, notably, directorial choices here do accentuate stylistic incongruities. We have three main scene types in this performance: monologues, duologues, and stylised movement sequences, the latter of which is the most disparate of the three. The intended naturalism of the duologue scenes, in particular, somewhat grates against the hyperstylisation of the remaining segments, which feel awkward and under-demonstrative. For example, our first major scene transition / stylised sequence sees Matthews waiting purposelessly on the edge of the stage for White to finish her monologue, so that she may pass her a blazer for the next scene. Moments like these feel inefficacious and inattentive. Another example is the sequence seeing Lena and Rita circling the stage, opposite one another, staring at each other, and this is far too confrontational, considering the story sees no conflict and solely love between these two characters, or one could refer to one of the very final transitions, in which Lena and Lady Jane Grey share a knowing, warm look whilst changing the set pieces for the next scene. This latter example feels most incongruous, as these two characters have no relationship to one another elsewhere in the performance [beyond Lady Jane Grey’s knowing and talking of Lena with Rita, distanced], and so it would stand to reason that they should take no pleasure, peace or joy in recognising and appreciating one another. In this way, activity during these sequences is either unimpactful or confused — or simply in stark contradiction to the main narrative. I do feel that these stylised sequences could, indeed, be appropriate for a play that also includes an imagined historical figure so casually into its narrative, but, currently, each story element — even the manner in which the presence of this figure is addressed — feels distinctly separate from its counterparts. I do admire, however, an attempt to make transitions engaging and to fill these with character and story moments, but I would recommend against performers changing sets in character, for the transition then becomes, in most cases, its own performance independent and irrelevant to the overarching story. I would recommend, instead, if character action is desired during transitions, that the stage is changed by other, out-of-character performers — for example, Lizzie O’Reilly (playing Val) and another of the cast members whom the interstitial character action does not involve — whilst our focus is drawn to a complete [muted] scenelet between the characters who are involved. Clear and coherent transitions see the performer in a character or stagehand role and not a blend of the two. “An intriguing concept but a text which has yet to find its style, voice, focus, and line of enquiry.”

  • [Performance Analysis:] THE CLOSURE AND THE QUEST, Barons Court Theatre, London.

    I will start by noting that there are significant similarities between the two texts but only insofar as structure and event type; style and content disallow a feeling that these two performances truly cohere with and relate to one another and hence warrant being presented together. Marketing efforts present these as 'plays about loss and redemption', but these themes are secondary and sometimes even merely subtextual in the second short play, 'The Distressed Table'. I should also note here that I do find it strange that this second play has been retitled to 'The Closure' across promotional content — both because this seems to have little relevance to the text itself and because this causes for another disconnect, between performance and marketing contents. The second of these two performances, both directed by Josh Hinds, is certainly stronger than the first, and I would recommend further work on this, which is closer to a refined, finished play than the other. Both texts do struggle considerably to depict enriched and particularised characters, presenting developments abruptly and with a certain nonchalance vaguely reminiscent of a fledgeling magical realism. The texts also struggle to retain subtlety in their expression, with any allusions and specific details becoming immediate events. Overall, the content feels rushed and disjointed. In terms of acting, there is a great disparity in style, which is notably a directorial issue and is most evident in the first performance of the two, in which there is a great struggle between caricaturality and naturalism. However, I understand that for actors presented with texts like these, subtlety and particularity is difficult to discern and discover, and caricaturality is impossible to prevent when extremity and unnatural speech patterns in the dialogue exist within the lines and plot themselves. Nonetheless, the performers, whom I commend for their work, perform their roles adequately. Jo Sutherland demonstrates excellent vitality and transformativity, with her two character profiles being entirely different from one another. Similarly, Aysha Niwaz demonstrates great vocal transformativity, and Daniel Subin has a great naturalistic quality to his first profile. I would have liked to have seen greater corporeal expressivity in Subin, however, who limits transformation between his two characters to the positioning of the mouth — in Bernard's lisp. 'Quest for the Mongolian Death Worm' Written by Liam Grady. Most notably, the mysticality and adventure of this first text can immediately be perceived, instead, as Orientalism, which is worth reconsidering. Allusions to magical creatures that do not exist, or exaggerative descriptions of the food chains and activities of mythic vicious beasts, feel more fairytale-like in nature and hence unproblematic, but specific depictions of contexts, namely as we are led by an experienced, wild and mysterious guide through the 'dangerous' Egyptian deserts with 'camels attempting to fornicate with the Sphynx' — camels whose 'arseholes', nonetheless, see frequent mention — feel too stereotypical, carelessly crass, and harsh. I would consider the sociopolitical value behind the content presented and how this may be perceived by audiences. Of the two presented, I struggled the most with this text — specifically, it is difficult to keep up with its content, which demands at each revelation of new information a keen eye and a level of pre-understanding, to know the subtext and piece the story together. From the very beginning, characters are presented to us abruptly and without clear relationship types. Their emotional responses to one another are highly charged, with no key reason as to why, and too much of the content owes to mystical lands and creatures and Rufus's (Sutherland) descriptions of them and her father's travels, and later Heather's (Niwaz) psychedelic trip, that the primary content, the actual story of the characters, becomes subordinate and ultimately lost. Persistent themes, such as death and adventure, instead of contextualising the action, become, in their vague vignettes, the content itself. “A confused text presenting rudimentary character and event types that result in inefficacious extremes.” 'The Distressed Table' Written by Melville Lovatt. Ironically, I would have preferred less of a plot for this text and more of a surreal and absurdist structural approach that does seem to be inherent in the characters’ exchange over the distressed table. There is a clowning and ludicrous quality intrinsic to the interactions between the characters: they obsess over the meticulous, obscure details of the table’s 'distressing', haggling its price; they wildly upset one another; and return only to repeat the conversation with a variation that initially subverts expectation and has a bathos effect once we realise the characters are starting once again to quarrel. I would have enjoyed this initial structure to return persistently, veritably forcing us to watch the two characters suffering themselves and causing each other to suffer as well over the table’s purchase. Indeed, I would have preferred this much more than the current content that frequently and needlessly returns, somewhat reflective of the first text, to out-of-the-blue extremes: suicide, imprisonment, divorce, etc. Again, plot developments feel rushed and too strategised: for instance, Bernard (Subin) reveals he is a sailor, and we are straightaway on a boat on the lake. Extremifying, instead, this caricatural presentation of Bernard and Christine (Sutherland) — accentuating his lisp and stubborn but bumbling attitude and her posh uptightness and propensity to deplore — would really accentuate the fruitful and endearing quality of this performance: its characters' interactions. Once more, we have 'proud Indonesian tribes' responsible for the table wood and its finish, and our Orientalism returns... This one detail ignored, the text itself is quite endearing and untroublesome in comparison the first. Its characters are developed not through backstories [an attempt at which ultimately dilutes and artificialises the content unnecessarily to meet playtext conventions] but through peculiarities of context and character speech. I would recommend further thought to the secondary material — Bernard's failing relationship with his wife (Niwaz), and Christine's speech to her husband[?] who has died after being imprisoned[?] [a scene that I would ultimately cut, as this did not progress narrative or story and was confounding in its content]. This secondary content ultimately feels irrelevant and compromises our understanding and appreciation of the primary material. “An interesting premise with eccentric characters compromised by interruptions from secondary or irrelevant material.” Want a technical analysis for your own live performance? Private and public analyses are requestable by any artist and for any live performance type. For more information, please click here. Artists from across the UK and [online] across the globe can also benefit from guidance, support and training in the form of consultations and/or workshops as part of my work as a live performance mentor.

  • [Performance Analysis:] FRANK’S CLOSET, Union Theatre, London.

    I had very mixed responses to this performance — as did quite a few, rather vocal audience members. Frank’s Closet is an enjoyable evening, full of vitality, camp extravagance, wit and character, but its focus and agenda are entirely confused, its plot poorly communicated, and its action seeming incongruous with its primary narrative. Ultimately, it loses touch with its initial premise, attempting to marry all of its various, disparate activities with Frank’s (Andy Moss) “journey in life” but to no success and with great incoherency. Our four chorus members (Jack Rose, Oliver Bradley-Taylor, Sarah Freer, and Olivia McBride) are most impressive in their expressivity, vocals, and command of the stage. All four of them maintain excellent physicality and vitality throughout, with their various impressions and quips being most transformative and enjoyable. Choreography itself is sufficiently varied and impressive, though I would pay greater attention to interstitial activity — most notably during vamps or short interludes whilst Frank is explaining something to the audience — as these are much too repetitive, incorporating simple knee-lifting foot taps and clicks of the fingers whilst turning on the spot. Luke Farrugia is simply awe-inspiring as the various Divas, demonstrating great skill, talent and self-awareness. For the vast majority of the performance, his vocals are impeccable, manifesting an excellent range and control. The majority of characterisations are also allowed to flourish through his inflections and exaggerative positionings of the mouth in song as well as through an excellent corporeal and facial expressivity throughout. Farrugia has excellent presence and vitality, and immaculate costuming certainly aids our appreciation of his exaggerative personae. It is easy to feel that his personae are slightly too superficial, however, but this is due to the writing (Stuart Wood) and the hurried nature of the Divas' presentations, performing their unique numbers in a one-time appearance before swiftly being replaced by the next. In comparison, however, other costumes remain distinctly unrefined, with the skirts attached to the corsets of some of the chorus dancers slowly detaching as the performance progresses. There are certainly other elements that produce a sense of tackiness, as with the lack of a backdrop to conceal the entrances and exits of characters once they have come through the designated portal to the stage. Otherwise, this is truly a most aesthetically pleasing performance. Whilst Farrugia’s impersonations of celebrities are generally skilful, their relevance is poorly conceived. Of course, they are the divas of the past whose spirits and peculiarities have greatly influenced Frank and whose costumes he has collected as a sycophantic magpie of sorts, but the performance quickly becomes an endless series of impersonations as opposed to a symbolic representation of how they have impacted Frank’s psyche, despite the few Diva—Frank interactions that we are presented. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ Community, I can certainly identify and comprehend an obsession with sassy, powerful, egotistical and successful [routinely female] figures and how an abrupt, condescending and ‘shady’ diva culture can increase a member of this Community’s self-esteem, joie de vivre and sense of purpose. However, it is never communicated that this is, indeed, the reason behind the sudden changes of tone, the swearing, the bitchiness; this is merely a deduction of mine. For instance, seeing Julie Andrews as quintessentially British, trilling, tight-lipped and upright, then swearing with the children and sticking her middle finger up is most comedic in its absurdity, but what is the purpose of presenting Julie Andrews in this way? How does this depiction / imagined extension of this Diva persona benefit, empower, challenge or change Frank? This remains distinctly unclear for our lack of information, causing the primary narrative to feel disparate in comparison. Merely having the Diva tell Frank to shut up whilst she sings another number, or having the two exchange mere one-liners wherein Frank explains his current situation and the Diva tells him to have courage, is not sufficient to justify the Divas’ presence. This disjointedness, and the sudden revelation at the end that Frank’s boyfriend would never ask him to change himself to be with him — a revelation that destroys the entire premise of the play and that complicates it further with his own infatuation with yet another Diva — are the main subtractions from the integrity of this text. Indeed, this ending feels like an afterthought, a snappy way to end the musical on a soppy high-note but without much integrity or profundity. In summary, whilst the performers and backstage creatives demonstrate, overall, excellent skill, conviction and chemistry, the foundations of the performance, the text and the book, need significant work to render this performance coherent and efficacious. “A performance with catchy songs and pleasing visuals but with little coherency or depth.” Want a technical analysis for your own live performance? Private and public analyses are requestable by any artist and for any live performance type. For more information, please click here. Artists from across the UK and [online] across the globe can also benefit from guidance, support and training in the form of consultations and/or workshops as part of my work as a live performance mentor.

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  • Animal Photoshoot

    Enjoy a memorable photoshoot experience with your animal one-true-love at a location of your choice. Embark on a forest adventure, spend the day on a calm park retreat, or choose a cosy home shoot. Photoshoots take place at outside locations and home/company locations and last from one hour to a day at your discretion. Photoshoots available to clients all over England and to sanctuaries, charities and organisations. Price includes charge for photoshoot and ten digital photographs. Additional and physical photographs thereafter priced separately: £5 per additional photograph/retouch; physical photographs from £10.

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